AI is coming to eLearning. Prepare to be disappointed.

As someone who grew up with 2000AD, I can’t help sitting down at my computer every day and wondering what went wrong.

Why don’t I have a robot sidekick? Why can’t I describe an eLearning vision to my Alexa and see its holographic form take shape in front of my eyes, before swiping it away Minority Report-style? Why am I sat here struggling to get Photoshop to do what I want?

“We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.” Roy Amara, scientist and futurist.

Although there are pockets of really interesting uses of AI in elearning, it feels like in the last couple of years our society has tipped over the peak of our overestimation.

It seems to me that the near future of eLearning development is more likely to be a plugin for authoring tools that, for example, facilitates the acceptance of natural speech from users or that spots what a developer is trying to build and suggests ways to proceed (“Are you creating a tabbed box? Shall I create the required variables?”) .

Then again, maybe those predictions are the overestimation Amara was talking about?

What about the “long run”? If we look at the history of the future, the only thing we know for sure it that we are hopeless at predicting it. Let’s just enjoy the ride, with each authoring tool update at a time.